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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The usefulness of uselessness: Towards a landscape framework for un-activated urban public space


© 2015 © 2015 Taylor & Francis. In recent decades, programmatic design activations have successfully rejuvenated many underperforming urban parks and vague sites. Nevertheless, the innate ephemerality of the landscape also leaves it susceptible to over-activation and loss of resilience and future possibility. Framed by this vulnerability, the article contributes a landscape-based interpretation of existing architectural and urban theories of vagueness and temporary use. Upholding of the potentiality of a site - even if not visibly active or productive - is agued to exhibit valid use-value within the contemporary accelerated urban context. The article cultivates landscape mechanisms for maintaining and propagating uselessness and neutralising existential threats to the openness of a site.

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